First of all, I have to mention that when I went to visit the FLMNH I was almost the only one in the building. So, although I was able to get pretty descent shots of myself with the exhibits, it made the trip extremely creepy in some aspects. The muttering of automated tour guides talking over one another, yet talking to nobody; being all alone surrounded by dead creatures -- just a tad creepy. Regardless, the trip was enlightening and far more interesting than the Harn Museum.
Nature On Display
Despite not looking at all interested in the picture I took, I found the fossil exhibit fascinating. Just the entrance, with the evolution of the maw of a shark, was interesting enough for me to choose this exhibit for Nature On Display. Like I said before, I was practically the only one in the museum at the time, so I was able to capture a panorama of the entire fossil exhibit with no one inside. I think the fact that no one else was in this room made it far more interesting than it should have been. Instead of the room feeling like a tourist attraction, it felt as if I was standing amongst a bunch of dead bones and taxidermy; like I was part of the exhibit. Here I was able to witness the obscurity and size of the creatures that roamed earth before us from a perspective that seemed too close for an awkward human being to have to endure alone. I wouldn't have been able to witness that same shock and creepiness in any other way.
Nature And Ethics
Obviously the most appropriate choice for this section is the exhibit on the Native Americans. Here you can see me awkwardly smiling next to a Native American child with an even more awkward expression. Anyways, the Native American people loved nature far beyond its economic value. They made sculptures and models of creatures that were both used for performances and incorporated in their culture. The Native Americans fit perfectly to Leopold's concept of humans as a member of the "biotic community," as they worshipped and respected nature as equals to themselves physically and spiritually. The museum also set up a small hut with a Native American ritual occurring inside which seemed almost demonic through scared, lonesome eyes. The FLMNH staff couldn't have done a better job connecting my fears with the exhibits. (Although the rubric says to talk about how other people reacted, I have no clue about this for reasons I have already stated).
Nature And The Human Spirit
Here is the part where we get to the butterfly garden! Hooray! This is basically the main reason we were told to go to the museum in the first place! Anyways, this exhibit had only one purpose, for people to view a fabricated form of the beauty and mystery of nature. And when I say it had only that purpose, I mean it only had that one single purpose. The butterflies in that garden could not reproduce since, according to the staff member, no caterpillars could exist inside the garden and they weren't allowed to grow butterflies themselves. In other words, the butterflies were kept there to die. Now, I'm not sure how they prevented the butterflies from reproducing, but I'm under the impression that they killed all of the babies. The staff did an excellent job of making sure none of the butterfly bodies were left behind, as I only saw one dead butterfly in the room. I think the butterfly garden better helps people realize who they are through complete ignorance. People can walk inside and see butterflies roam around and feel all warm and cosy inside as though they are truly in paradise were the mind can wander freely -- just how Heschel wanted it to be. Meanwhile, butterflies and moths are being picked off one by one by children stepping on them and crushing them in betwixt their fingers (I couldn't get a picture of this since I would have required the child's written permission).